President Donald Trump has ousted national security adviser John Bolton, saying in a surprise tweet Tuesday that he and the controversial aide often clashed on foreign policy matters.
“I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,” Trump wrote.
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“I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore … I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service,” the president continued, adding that he will name a new national security adviser sometime next week.
But Bolton, who was scheduled to appear at a White House briefing later Tuesday afternoon alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, offered a conflicting account on Twitter minutes after the Trump’s posts.
“I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow,'” he wrote online.
Bolton’s departure follows a series of foreign policy schisms between the hawkish former United Nations envoy and the commander in chief — who has sought to deescalate tensions with Iran and North Korea while Bolton pursued a more confrontational tack toward the U.S. adversaries.
Recent reports have also indicated Bolton had been largely sidelined in White House talks seeking to navigate an end to the war in Afghanistan, which imploded over the weekend after Trump announced he had aborted a planned round of negotiations at Camp David with Taliban leaders and the Afghan president.
NBC News reported that Bolton as well as Vice President Mike Pence were opposed to the idea of such a summit, prompting Trump on Monday to dismiss the story as untrue.
“A lot of Fake News is being reported that I overruled the VP and various advisers on a potential Camp David meeting with the Taliban. This Story is False!” he wrote online, adding that the “Dishonest Media likes to create … the look of turmoil in the White House, of which there is none.”
Bolton, who served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for 16 months under former President George W. Bush’s administration, was appointed as Trump’s top national security aide in April 2018 — despite widespread opposition from national Democrats and concern among several high-profile members of the diplomatic community over his perceived proclivity for military intervention and role in the origins of the Iraq War.
Bolton is the third national security adviser of Trump’s presidency. He assumed leadership of the administration’s National Security Council following the March 2018 ouster of H. R. McMaster, the Army lieutenant general who frequently clashed with the president on matters of foreign policy and was branded by detractors as not sufficiently conservative.
Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, became ensnared in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and pleaded guilty in December 2017 to one felony count of lying to the FBI about conversations he had with Russia’s ambassador.